Leiji Matsumoto, a legendary figure in manga and anime history, died last. The report of his death was released by representatives of his family and his company, Leijisha. He died on February 13, 2023, due to heart failure. He was 85 years old. [Thanks, Livedoor News and The Yomiuri Shimbun!]
Matsumoto was born in 1938 in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan, with the given name “Akira.” He became a manga artist, releasing his debut work Michibachi no Bouken while still a high school student in 1953. He adopted his most famous pen name “Leiji Matsumoto” in 1965.
Matsumoto became a seminal figure in the history of manga and anime, creating works like Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers), Galaxy Express 999, Dangard Ace, Ozma, and more. His work and designs inspired and influenced generations of artists and creators both in Japan and around the world.
Leiji Matsumoto achieved recognition for his work on various occasions, including being awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 2010. The French government awarded him the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) decoration in 2012.
A private funeral service was held for Leiji Matsumoto, and led by his wife, manga creator Miyako Maki, and his immediate family. Makiko Matsumoto, their daughter and a representative at Leijisha, said in comments that “Leiji Matsumoto has set off on a journey towards the sea of stars.” She said that her father would always say “We’ll meet again, at the place where the wheels of time touch.” She expressed gratitude to Leiji Matsumoto’s fans, the companies he worked with and brought his work to the world, and the organizations and individuals he’s collaborated with over the years.